The Matrix

The Matrix (1999) Director: The Wachowskis

The Wachowskis were previously collectively known as the Wachowski Brothers (Andrew and Laurence). In the early 2000s, Laurence completed a gender transition and became known as Lana, and in 2016 Andy did the same and began being known as Lilly. The Matrix is their second film. The Wachowskis also made V For Vendetta in 2005. The Matrix is one of Keanu Reeves most memorable roles, and the film spawned two sequels, as well as a potential forthcoming Part IV.



The Matrix is a mind-bending science fiction film. It takes place in a futuristic dystopia. Keanu Reeves plays an underground computer programmer, Thomas Anderson, known online as “Neo.” He is pursued by Agents (played by Hugo Weaving) while an enlightened group of apparent hackers led by Morpheus (played by Laurence Fishburne) tries to help free Neo. After some persuasion, Morpheus shows Neo that the real world is a dark, dystopian world run by machines while most humans are indoctrinated to live within “the Matrix” -a virtual, fraudulent reality. After taking the “red pill” from Morpheus, Neo awakens in the real world (cue allusions to Descartes’s Meditations on First Philosophy). He becomes a crew member aboard the Nebuchadnezzar, Morpheus’s ship in the real world. Morpheus and his followers believe Neo is “the one” who can wield great power over the matrix and bring an end to the war between humans and machines. They teach Neo how to bend the reality of the matrix by virtually re-entering the simulated world. However, they are constantly being hunted by Agents. Eventually, they are betrayed by Cypher, a member of the crew, and Morpheus is captured and tortured until Neo and Trinity re-enter the matrix to save him, and somehow Neo is suddenly capable of demonstrating great power. He battles and defeats one of the agents -leading Morpheus and his crew to continue their belief that Neo is the one.

At the time of its release, The Matrix was known for its unique special effects -particularly animation inspired by Kung Fu and anime movies.

The plot of The Matrix is a somewhat tired and recycled narrative involving a superhero, who is not totally aware he is a hero, who grows more confident throughout the movie until he is nearly beaten to death by his nemesis, and then, somehow, he musters the inner strength to overcome his enemy. Predictable. Despite this fact, The Matrix is a beautifully shot film -the fight scenes are amazing and the story is highly entertaining- even if it is the standard movie screened in Philosophy 101 courses ever year.

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